What was the last state to join the US? Hawaii became America's 50th (and so far, final) state, fifty years ago today. The area Mark Twain once referred to as "the loveliest fleet of islands that lies anchored in any ocean," Hawaii is a group of eight islands and many islets in the Pacific Ocean. It's the only US state located in the tropics, the only one with no territory on the mainland, and — because of active lava flows — the only state that continues to grow in area. Hawaii is known as the "Aloha State" for "aloha," the word that represents a spirit natives believe thrives locally: it exemplifies a feeling of good wishes, love, respect and consideration for others.